Augmented reality, where our physical reality is augmented with computer-generated input, is becoming increasingly popular. Augmented reality technology can help a person receive extra data about the world around them, and even help them to interact with the world in a unique manner. Google Glass is one example of how augmented reality is becoming a more regular part of our lives, and Microsoft have announced their own addition to the field in the form of Microsoft Holographic.
In the not-so-distant future, augmented reality could become a regular part of marketing and advertising. Technavio, a market research report provider, estimates that the global mobile augmented reality market specifically for marketing and advertising could grow at a compound annual growth rate of almost 106%. This growth is being driven by the widespread availability and affordability of smartphones and internet access, including 3G and 4G. It makes sense for marketers to begin focusing on this unique method of advertising.
Augmented reality is in use already. Skoda used it earlier this year in London, providing computer outlets where customers could create their own Skoda from a choice of colours and interior design combinations and project it onto a digital advertising screen in London’s Waterloo station. One of the more famous recent examples was used by McDonalds last year, during the 2014 World Cup, where customers could aim their smartphone at a fry box to create an interactive overlay of a football goal.
Colleges in the United States are beginning to dabble too. In 2013, Iowa’s Simpson College in Iowa incorporated augmented reality technology on a banner. Potential students could aim their smartphone camera at it, allowing a video about the college to play on their device. The University of Wisconsin-Madison created a documentary which could be viewed when students aimed their smartphones at “auras” linked to specific locations across the campus.
As it stands, augmented reality advertising is still relatively rare. Many companies use QR codes, which for most is the upper limit of their augmented reality advertising. However, as growth is predicted in this exciting market, one can only assume that it will become more and more popular in the realm of digital marketing over the coming years.